Minimally invasive cardiac surgery may be an alternative to traditional open-heart surgery. It is performed through minuscule incisions as opposed to conventional open-heart surgery, which requires one large incision.
What is it?
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery is performed by making small incisions on the right side of the chest. This method can be an alternative to the most conventional option of open-heart surgery. The benefits of this approach include smaller incisions (and therefore minor scars), less pain and lower risk of complications. Some of the conditions minimally invasive cardiac surgery treats include arterial septal defects, ventricular septal defects, and atrioventricular canal defects.
What should I do to prepare?
Before undergoing minimally invasive open heart surgery, one should follow the specific instructions and guidelines of their doctor. If sedatives or anesthetics are used in the surgery, one should refrain from eating or drinking before surgery.
What happens during the process?
The two main types of minimally invasive cardiac surgery are a mini-thoracotomy and a partial sternotomy. In a mini-thoracotomy, an incision is made in the muscles between the ribs to gain access to the heart. In a partial sternotomy, a multi-inch incision is made through the sternum. The breastbone is then separated to obtain access to the heart. In many of these procedures, a robotic arm is utilized to assist in the heart surgery. In a robotically assisted heart surgery, surgical instruments are attached to a robotic arm controlled by a surgeon. The surgeon works from a remote console, which allows for the heart to be magnified in high-definition.
What are the risks and complications?
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery has few risks and complications. These risks include excessive bleeding, stroke, and infection development. However, these complications are rare and much less likely to occur using this method than conventional procedures.
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